- The welfare of the child is paramount;
- All children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin religious beliefs and/or sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse;
- All suspicions and allegations of abuse and poor practice will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately;
- Staff/volunteers are not trained to deal with situations of abuse or to decide if abuse has occurred, however, all staff (paid/unpaid) have a responsibility to report concerns to the Kennel Club.
The Kennel Club has a duty of care to safeguard all children involved in its licensed activities from harm. All children have a right to protection, and the needs of disabled children and others who may be particularly vulnerable must be taken into account. The Kennel Club will ensure the safety and protection of all children involved through adherence to the Child Protection guidelines adopted by the Kennel Club.
A child is defined as a person under the age of 18 (The Children Act 1989).
The aim of the Kennel Club Child Protection Policy is to promote good practice:
- Providing children and young people with appropriate safety and protection whilst in its care;
- Allow all staff /volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues.
Good practice guidelines
All personnel should be encouraged to demonstrate exemplary behaviour in order to promote the welfare of children and reduce the likelihood of allegations being made. The following are common sense examples of how to create a positive culture and climate.
Good practice means:
- Always working in an open environment (e.g. avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication with no secrets).
- Treating all young people equally, and with respect and dignity.
- Always putting the welfare of each young person first, before winning or achieving goals.
- Maintaining a safe and appropriate distance with children (e.g. it is not appropriate for staff or volunteers to have an intimate relationship with a child or to share a room with them).
- Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust which empowers children to share in the decision-making process;
- Making the events fun, enjoyable and promoting fair play.
- Being an excellent role model – this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of young people.
- Giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
- Recognising the developmental needs and capacity of young people; avoiding excessive training or competition and not pushing them against their will.
- Securing parental consent in writing to act in loco parentis, if the need arises to administer emergency first aid and/or other medical treatment.
- Keeping a written record of any injury that occurs, along with the details of any treatment given.
- Requesting written parental consent if club officials are required to transport young people in their cars.
Practices to be avoided
The following should be avoided except in emergencies. If cases arise where these situations are unavoidable it should be with the full knowledge and consent of someone in charge in the club or the child’s parents. For example, a child sustains an injury and needs to go to hospital, or a parent fails to arrive to pick a child up at the end of a session:
- Avoid spending time alone with children away from others. The golden rule is safety in numbers – no adult should be in a one to one situation with a child.
- Avoid while alone taking or dropping off a child to an event or activity
Practices never to be sanctioned
The following should never be sanctioned. You should never:
- Engage in rough, physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay
- Share a room with a child
- Allow or engage in any form of inappropriate touching
- Allow children to use inappropriate language unchallenged
- Make sexually suggestive comments to a child, even in fun
- Reduce a child to tears as a form of control
- Fail to act upon and record any allegations made by a child
- Do things of a personal nature for children that they can do for themselves
- Invite or allow children to stay with you at your home unsupervised
Incidents that must be reported/recorded
If any of the following occur you should report this immediately and record the incident. You should also ensure the parents of the child are informed:
- If you accidentally hurt a child.
- If he/she seems distressed in any manner.
- If a child misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done.
Recruitment and training of staff and volunteers
The Kennel Club recognises that all reasonable steps must be taken to ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with children. Preselection checks must include the following:
- All relevant volunteers/staff (those who will be working and have direct involvement with children) should complete an application form.
- The application form will elicit information about an applicant's past and a self disclosure about any criminal record.
- Evidence of identity (passport or driving licence with photo).
- Interview and Induction
- All employees and volunteers should receive an induction, during which:
- A check should be made that the application form has been completed in full (including sections on criminal records and self-disclosures).
- The job requirements and responsibilities should be clarified.
- Child protection procedures are explained
Responding to allegations or suspicions
It is not the responsibility of anyone working in the Kennel Club in a paid or unpaid capacity to decide whether or not child abuse has taken place. However there is a responsibility to act on any concerns by reporting these to the appropriate officer or the appropriate authorities.
The Kennel Club will assure all staff/volunteers that it will fully support and protect anyone, who in good faith reports his or her concern that a colleague is, or may be, abusing a child.